Now that the WNBA has a new collective bargaining agreement, the focus will turn to the on court action. The 2020 season figures to be one of great change for the New York Liberty as they embark on a new adventure ... in Brooklyn at Barclays Center. Let's take a look at some games on the schedule that was released Thursday.
- May 17 vs the Los Angeles Sparks
Home openers are always fun, and this one will be extra special for the Liberty. It's their first home game as permanent Brooklyn residents and will be the home debut of likely No. 1 pick, University of Oregon star Sabrina Ionescu. The Liberty had energetic crowds when they made guest appearances at Barclays Center last season, and now that it's their full time home, they'll have a chance to form an even greater connection.
The opponent might be even more interesting. The last time we saw the Sparks, they were being swept out of the playoffs by the Connecticut Sun and Candace Parker was saddled to the bench. All hell broke loose behind the scenes and there will be a lot of pressure on head coach Derek Fisher this season. Good luck to him.
- June 5 at the Minnesota Lynx
Liberty coach Walt Hopkins worked three years as an assistant coach with the Lynx and was on the staff when the team won the 2017 WNBA Finals. As it so happens, we'll also be seeing former Liberty head coach Katie Smith, who was hired to be an assistant coach with the Lynx. Funny how things go sometimes.
And maybe Maya Moore will be back to playing basketball? Moore has been away from basketball as she's been working as an activist to free a wrongfully imprisoned man. It's brave, life changing work, and we salute her.
- June 23 at Las Vegas Aces
Last season, the Aces beat the Liberty by 35 points in Vegas as Liz Cambage, A'ja Wilson and Vegas were too much to handle. This will be a great test for the Liberty as they'll be facing a title contending team in hostile territory. This is also the start of a three game road trip that will take them to Seattle and Los Angeles (those two games are a back-to-back).
- July 2 vs the Connecticut Sun
I'm honestly amazed the Liberty only have two nationally televised games this season. I figured they'd have a little more national appeal with Ionescu (presumably) in town, but I digress. On the court, the Liberty will face a stiff test going up against Jonquel Jones and the Sun.
- July 8 at Washington Mystics
I'm still not sure how this Commissioner's Cup will look, but this mini explainer is giving me an idea as to what it is:
Cup games will be the first home game and first road game each team plays against its five conference rivals, all completed from May 15 – July 10 before the WNBA takes a monthlong break while many WNBA players participate in the 2020 Summer Olympics in Japan, including the USA Basketball Women’s National Team, which will be competing for its seventh consecutive gold medal.
Ok. This game will be last Cup game for the Liberty for the year. It's also the back end of a home and home set against the defending WNBA Champs.
- August 16 at Dallas
First game back from the Olympics and the first game of a season long five game road trip. The team will spend the entire month of August on the road, but there are extra days off in between each game. Travel conditions were a big point of contention during CBA negotiations, and this trip will be a good test to see how much the WNBA has improved in that regard.
- September 16 vs Washington
The season was extended from 34 to 36 games, and with the extra games, we get extra chances to see stars like Elena Delle Donne and Kristi Toliver. For the Liberty, it gives them a few more chances to string some wins together and earn a playoff spot. This is the home finale for 2020 and the team hopes that they'll send the Brooklyn faithful home with a great victory.